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10 Winning Online Marketing Strategies for Small & Local Businesses

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10 Winning Online Marketing Strategies for Small & Local Businesses

In the past, competition is often limited to a number of similar firms in the community or at neighboring towns. For a small to medium enterprise, it is not much of a problem. These days, however, with the need to expand your company on the Internet, you are up against thousands of competitors from all over the globe, not to mention those large, multi-national companies. So now, you have plenty of issues to deal with, both online and offline.

But like any challenges in the business world, there are techniques that you can use to overcome them. Thus, if you are struggling with online marketing, here are 10 strategies that can help you maximize your advertising efforts and see positive, profitable results.

1.   Determine your keywords

On the Web, keywords are the key to generating traffic and leads, as they are the terms that prospective clients use when searching for products or services. These are vital to search engine optimization as well. That is why you need to research a set of keywords that are relevant to your business. How do you start?

If you have the funds, take advantage of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. It will provide you actual data on the search terms people use and how many times those keywords were used.

But, if you do not have the budget, you can always make a list of words that Internet users will possibly use. If you are selling bicycles, for instance, some of the most common terms can include: “bikes” and “bicycle”. If you want something more specific, you can add: “used bikes”, “BMX bicycle”, “mountain bike”, “hybrid bicycle”, etc. And, if your market is limited within your area, you can use “touring bike Goa” instead. Once your list is complete, use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to get data for those search terms and possible suggestions. The image below shows the search result using “hybrid bicycles” as keywords

To determine what you can use, look for words that have a fair number of searches. Avoid those terms that are commonly used by plenty of advertisers as it will be hard to rank high where the competition is stiff.

2.   Provide Compelling Content

Without it your website is, well, empty.  But it is not enough to simply post any article. Your content should be visually appealing, readable, and credible. Think of it as the platform where you can speak to your audience about your business and tell them how authoritative you are about what you are selling.

And because the content will be crawled and indexed by search engine bots, you need to provide enough information for them to get an idea of what the website is all about. But stick to at most 1000 words to avoid boring the readers. One way to keep attention glued to your post is to create a content that is easy to scan.

Remember to use keywords on all your post. By using different terms at every page, you will be able to generate more traffic. And, once the website is launched, NEVER stop providing engaging, updated content.

3.   Use simple HTML

In having your website built, avoid too much dynamic content using PHP, Javascripts, or ASP. That is because search engines find it difficult to index such pages, more so with Flash. So stick to HTML. With an excellent website designer, your site will look eye-catching using just CSS.

4.   Link where it matters the most

Search engines greatly rely on links to index new pages. To maximize the benefits of this feature, you should link directly from the homepage and link from as many pages of your website to the most important pages. It is also highly recommended that you create a sitemap and then link to it from every page of your site. Cross-linking is another method that you can use for pages that have similar content.

Note: Know that the text you used for linking provides a very important signal to search engines because it tells them what the page is all about. For that reason, use specific terms. For instance, use “road bikes” and “touring bicycles” rather than just “products”.

5.   Provide contact information

What better way to direct prospective clients than through your contact details? But instead of just relying on the Contact Us page, have the information listed consistently on every page. Make sure that you use geographic and product keywords in your business title, add the local area code along with the phone number and full address, and then have them coded. Avoid using scanned images of a business card as search engines cannot index them as of now.

What makes the contact information more vital to online marketing? It will boost your ranking in local SEO.

6.   Submit to directories

Good links, as you may know, are counted as votes for your website. The more votes the site gets, the higher it will rank. But, to ensure that you only get acceptable links, submit your webpage to quality directories, such as Dmoz, Yahoo, Best of the Web, and Business.com, among others. You can also search for possible listings based on your industry or location using Google and other search engines.

Now, if you are looking for other sources of good links that will link back to your website, ask from authority websites, such as the local government page and credible organizations. Just make sure that the links are relevant to your site or business.

7.   Go local

If you want to focus more on local search traffic, then you should take advantage of the algorithms of local search engines. Better yet, you should endeavor to rank high on both the local and global searches. Some of the search engines you can submit your business to include: Google Maps/Local, Yahoo Local, MSN Live Local, and Local.com.

Considering that you will be using your contact information for your submission, make sure that it is consistent to what is found on your website. Most importantly, it must have geographic and product/service keywords in the business title.

8.   Verify business information

In line with going local, you must verify your company information on data providers, such as InfoUSA, InsiderPages, Merchant Circle, and Localeze. Doing so is one way to determine that your business details are consistent across the board. Otherwise, have it fixed to ensure that any information that search engines pull from data providers is similar to that from your website.

9.   Stay on top of offline marketing

With the complexity involved in digital advertising, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy and forget about the other vital half of your business—the offline market. But because digital and print advertising is rapidly merging, it is highly recommended that you maintain a balance between online and offline advertising campaigns. As you may know, print articles these days usually quote links which you can use to link back to your website. For that reason, you must not forget about traditional marketing mediums.

10.Be active in your community/industry

One secret of achieving long-term success on the Web is to be a visible figure in the community or industry that you belong in, whether locally or globally. How can you do that?

First, develop a relationship with authors of industry or geography focused blogs by reading the posts that matter to your business and then leaving comments.

Second, be the first to write content about your industry or community that is still unknown to a lot of people. You can then publish them on your blog or syndicate them on other popular sites with a link leading to your website.

Third, encourage customers to review your company or provide feedback. And while you are at it, remember to capture their email addresses for marketing or subscription purposes.

There you have it; ten strategies for effective online marketing. While these are intended for small and local businesses, large enterprises that need to revamp their digital campaigns can take advantage of these as well.

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Discussion

  1. mike  December 4, 2012

    I do not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

    (reply)
  2. DigiClay  December 5, 2012

    great Online Marketing Strategies ,.,. very gud post..

    (reply)

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